Very Inspiring Sermons

Devar Torah said on Shabbat Monring Parashat Vayeshev.

Subject; How to stay true to yourself  when there are so many distractions and so much craziness going on around you.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said the following parable.

Once an astrologer-king saw in the stars that anyone who would eat of the coming year’s harvest would go crazy.

He called in his viceroy and friend to ask for his advice.   “Sire,” replied the counselor, “you and I shall eat only last year’s harvest, which is untainted. And so we shall remain sane.”  But the king replied, “I do not accept your proposal, if we separate ourselves from our people and remain the only sane people among a nation of craziness – they will think we are the ones who are crazy. Instead, you and I shall eat of the tainted grain, and shall enter into madness with our people.” 

The king thought for a moment, then said, “We must, however, at least remember our sanity and common sense, Therefore, you and I shall mark each other’s foreheads with a sign. And every time we look at one another, we shall remember that we should look for our sanity.” 

Here, in a deliberate and precise way Rabbi Nachman prefers to portray the king as one who joins, though joins with a sign – but joins the craziness and knows that there is a nucleus of secret, which distinguishes him and the other from the rest. The nucleus of awareness.

But more than that. The secret of sanity does not pass through a personal mark on the hand or foot, places where at any given moment the king or another can look and remember immediately their sanity, but through the forehead: a place that only the other sees, and only the other can discover the ‘conscious madness’ in which man is. Each of them necessarily needs another who will come, reveal, confirm and support the same secret. This is a very important rule in humanity, that all its being is in its standing on the very dependence on the other, on the needy and the trust. Man cannot live only in himself and himself to himself, but is committed to another, in whom he will turn, answer and look to him. He needs someone outside him, who is far away from him, who will resonate with him, who will return and light his face to him. That the whole matter of the secret stands for the mutual need; There is no heaven without land and no land without heaven, and there is no king without  viceroy and there is no viceroy without the King.

The above story, remind us every year anew of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a holiday that is celebrated for the victory of the mind and not for the victory of the body. The story of Hanukkah was a story where everything was devoured by religious insanity and madness, until we look at the secret sign at the spot on the forehead as that little jar of oil, kept in their seal.

When a person places a menorah in the doorway of his house or visible window to the street, then he hangs the mark on his forehead. He does not see the sign of his own menorah, but that of his neighbor in front of him, and his neighbor also only sees his sign, and then they both remember – each with the help of the other – self-awarnes. Thus they both fully admit their need for each other, a need that is in fact the very being. The very miracle and victory.

In our Parasha we see the same exact as the above story.

When all sons and daughters of Yaakov came to console Yaakov about the death of Yosef, Yaakov refuse the accept their craziness as the Passuk says וימאן  he refuse. He had the sign of the face of Yosef everyday with him which help him to remember that the whole story is insane. On the other hand when Yosef was seduced by his master’s wife, Yosef was surround by craziness of lust, Yosef refused to accept it, as the Passuk says the same word as before וימאן  he refuse. He had the sign of the face of his father before him which will bring him back to normality and help him to remember that the whole episode is insane.

In the above story the king and his beloved are not trying to rescue the people of the country from the cave of craziness in which they were, instead they cared to save only themselves because the rescue of the world begins with oneself.

In conclusion, we may be surround by many types of distractions and craziness, but we must set us a sign to remind us to stay with high self-awareness at all times.

Devar Torah Said on Shabbat Morning Parashat Vayishalah

Subject; You can try and fail but never fail to try

When Yaakov was left alone to retrieve his Jars, he got embroiled in a fight with anonymous man which Rashi says was the spiritual manifestation of his brother Esav. They battled all night long, and upon seeing dawn on the horizon, the anonymous man gave up, but not without striking Yaakov on the thigh and injuring him. Because of this, the Torah says that “על כן לא יאכלו בני ישראל את גיד הנשה – therefore, the Jews do not eat the Gid Hanasheh, the sciatic nerve.”
Homiletically, this Passuk can be interpreted to be referring to the days of the year when Jews “do not eat” at all, the public fast days:
The Passuk reads as follows: “Therefore the Jews do not eat [on the days hinted to in the following words]:
את – the ninth (תשעה) of the month of Av (אב);
גיד – the 3rd (ג) day of the month of Tishrei;
“גיד – the 10th (י) day of the month of Teves;
גיד – the 17th (the gematriah of גיד) day of Tammuz.”

The key’s point in this story, that the wrestling was at night until morning rise, which in that moment, the anonymous man gave up his motivation to fight when he asked to stop.  

Another key point is that Yaakov came out wounded and limping from this fight. The Hatam Sofer says that this struggle happened on the night of Tisha B’Av, which would explain many details in the story in our parsha, such as the same anonymous man precedes and tells Yaakov that his name is going to be Israel, just before Hashem announcing the name’s changing. This fight would be later our Tisha Be’Av challenges.

The first known rule in wrestling is that you must not get tired. In our wrestling story the anonymous man got tired first at the rise of the morning. Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. We can try and fail, but don’t fail to try.

What is the secret to never fail to try? the answer is in these two words in English. “Tried” “Tired” both words have the letters T and R which stands for To Rise, the only difference is where you place the I aka myself. In the word Tried the I is after TR, meaning that To Rise is first and I is at the end. Putting the goal to rise ahead of your I, however in Tired the I come between T and R meaning between To Rise there is I which placing attention to I instead of the goal to rise which will make me tired.

Devar Torah said on Shabbat parashat vayetze

Subject; Bouncing up in prosperity bouncing back from adversity.

In a certain town lived a man named ‘Truth’ and wherever he went he created a commotion because he always walked naked, there was always a strong reaction to his presence and was seen as a nuisance, he had an old friend named “Parable” and one day his friend “Parable” approached him and explained, so much People are bothered by your appearance, I have a tip for you, if you were to dress in one of my suits people around you will not be annoyed, and maybe even understand and accept you. It is difficult  to deal with the raw “truth”, we hide from him, but when we see the “truth” through clothing, when we see the “truth” through a story or metaphor, we Can afford to accept the message and perhaps agree with it. With that introduction we can go to learn what the story of our Parasha is about.

The story of Yaakov’s dream, is a vision.  This founding vision of Jacob is not only the core of the idea of ​​prayer, but also a source of influence on its pattern. The form of Jewish prayer reflects the model of the ladder on which angels ascend and descend. A close examination of our prayers will reveal a symmetrical basic pattern whose three parts are ascension, standing in the face of the Divine Presence and descending. The morning prayer, for example, begins with Pesuke Dezimrah, which are a preparation for prayer; Comes to prayer-body, recitation of Shema and its blessings and Amida prayer; And ends with a series of words of praise to God, including, again, the psalm “Ashre” (Psalms 145.

If we narrow our eyes to this heart of prayer, we will find that the Amida prayer is also made in the structure of the triangle: its beginning is a blessing of praise, its end is a blessing of thanksgiving, and in the middle is the body of prayer: A kind of ascent, standing and descending.

The same is true of the Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh,. The Kedusha is said three times in the morning prayer (on Shabbat, due to the length of the prayer, the third time is postponed to the mincha prayer). The first Kedusha is before the recitation of Shema. The third is “Kadusha Desdra” after the Amida, Whereas the Middle Kedusha is to be said in the repetition of the Amida.

There are other examples of the triangular structure in prayer, but we will be content with these. The examples I have given show that prayer has a basic form, a deep grammar. It consists of ascent, resilience-presence and descent. The inspiration for this is, without a doubt, Jacob’s dream.

Prayer is a ladder that stretches from earth to heaven. In this scale of words, thoughts and feelings, we are gradually freeing ourselves from the gravitational field of the earth. We move from the world around us, the world perceived by the senses, towards the awareness of his sublime Creator. When we reach the top of the ladder we stand before the Shechinah, as Maimonides defined in the Laws of Prayer (4:16) the heart of the essence is the intention in prayer. But if our prayer did its thing, at the end of the prayer we are other people than we were at the beginning.

If the first stage is the climb, and the second is the standing in the sky, here the third stage is the lowering of a piece of heaven to the earth. For the discovery of Jacob after the so call – triangle – of ascending, then, presence of God, then, descending was that there is God in this place. The sky, if we will, can be right here. We can even be as angels, agents and messengers of God, ascend to Him and descend; And even, like Jacob, to serve with God and with people – if, like him, we have the ability to pray, the courage to dream, and the openness to change in the frightening intervals between certainty and certainty and declare there is Hashem here in this very place.

We have in our Parasha a linear upward trend in the story of Jacob starting as an individual and ending up as an extended family and we have a circular trend when Jacob at the beginning of the Parasha escapes from Esav and meets angels and at the end of the Parasha after 22 years Jacob escapes from Lavan and meets angels when connecting a linear upward trend, with a circular trend – we get a spring that bounce you up and up and up. Our life is moving in a circle – cycle – and straight line, when we declare there is Hashem here in this very place, linear line and circular line will creates us the spring to bounce us up and up to prosperity or bounce back from any adversity.